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Samsung Smart TV Owners Fume Over Sneaky Pop-Up Ads
February 11, 2015
Samsung Smart TV owners, already shaken by news earlier this week that their TVs can transmit voice commands and other private data to third parties, have been hit by another revelation -- that the devices sneak ads into movies they're watching, without the owner's knowledge or consent. A user on the Plex forum complained that a Pepsi ad popped up every 10 to 15 minutes while he was watching his Samsung TV.
Bug Bounties Entice Researchers to Don White Hats
February 10, 2015
Bug bounty programs are used by individual software makers to improve the quality of their products, but they can have incidental benefits for all software makers, too. One of those is to encourage bug hunters to wear a white hat instead of a black one. When you make it easy for hackers to do the right thing, the majority will," noted Alex Rice, CTO of HackerOne.
Report: Connected Vehicles Vulnerable to Hack Attacks
February 09, 2015
Motorists in the United States are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks and violations of privacy, as more and more technology is added to their cars. A report released on Sunday by the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) listed a number of key findings that are based on responses from 16 auto makers to a letter sent to them by Markey's office.
Concerns Emerge About Samsung Smart TVs 'Bugging' Owners
February 09, 2015
The feature in question may transmit some voice commands, along with information about the device, to a third-party service that converts speech to text, Samsung's global privacy policy warns. If voice recognition is going to be on all the time, "that seems like really poor design, and certainly represents a privacy risk," said Justin Brookman, director of the consumer privacy project at the Center for Democracy & Technology.
3D-Printed 'Urban Concept' Car Assembled by Singapore Students
February 06, 2015
Students at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have built the island republic's first 3D-printed concept car. The NTU Venture 8 (NV8) is built on a carbon fiber single-shell chassis. Its 150 3D parts were made out of lightweight plastic that were created on printers at the university, 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.
FCC Chair Submits New Approach for Net Neutrality
February 06, 2015
Some proposed rules that the Federal Communication Commission maintains will prevent content discrimination on the Internet drew fire on Thursday from two policy interest groups. A four-page "fact sheet" on the rules was released Wednesday by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. In it, the chairman outlined what he's proposing to the full commission, which is expected to vote on the rules February 26.
Virtual Reality a Sports Training Game Changer
February 06, 2015
Quite a bit of buzz broke out recently in sports circles when the Stanford quarterback was caught on ESPN sporting an Oculus virtual reality (VR) face mask. Not that VR is totally new, but fans want more out of their athletes and the sight of such a souped-up technical edge on the field was a novel thrill. But that thrill won't be novel for long as VR is headed for mainstream use in all sports.
Anthem Mega-Breach Jeopardizes 80 Million Consumers
February 05, 2015
Hackers broke into the databases of Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S., and stole up to 80 million customers' personal information. The data includes current and former customers' names, birthdays, medical IDs, social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish wrote in a note sent to customers.
IoT Risky Business for Enterprise Networks
February 05, 2015
There were 9 billion Internet of Things units installed at the end of 2013 -- and analysts expect the figure to hit 28 billion by 2020. That's going to make life difficult for IT security admins. A Tripwire survey found that employed consumers who took work home had an average of 11 IoT devices on their home networks, and 24 percent of them had connected at least one of these devices to their enterprise network.
A Personal Power Plant in the Palm of Your Hand
February 04, 2015
The problem with most portable battery-based chargers is that you still need to plug them into a wall socket to gain a charge. While some inventors have turned to solar, or even wind power, for off-the-grid power sources, solar and wind power take time and require Mother Nature to provide sun or wind. Enter Kraftwerk, a fuel-based hand-held portable generator that has launched as a Kickstarter project.
Will Google and Uber Invade Each Other's Turf?
February 03, 2015
Google is working on its own ride-hailing service to compete with Uber, according to a Bloomberg report. Meanwhile, Uber has announced a strategic partnership with Carnegie Mellon University that will see the creation of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. The situation smacks of a soap opera for the autonomous and ride-sharing industries.
China May Write New Rules for US Businesses Selling Tech to Banks
February 02, 2015
A group of organizations representing American businesses last week requested urgent discussion and dialog with China's government. They expressed concern about the possible adoption of a policy to ensure that any Internet and information communications technology products Chinese banks purchase from companies outside of China are secure and controllable.
Open Source at the Front of the Class
February 02, 2015
Open source is sitting at the head of the class in a growing number of schools with all levels of education. Its no-cost starting point and use-it-your-way flexibility gives open source technology an advantage over proprietary solutions with its no-license and no-fee lesson plan. Don't think so? LinuxInsider spoke with several technology administrators around the country who gave their open source experiences a solid A+.
Gamergate Bleeds Into Wikipedia
January 30, 2015
The Gamergate controversy, which centers on sexism and sexual violence in the video game industry, has made things hot for Wikipedia, whose arbitration committee has taken punitive action against some of the people involved in the debate. The committee decided to impose a complete site-wide ban on one male editor, with the handle "Ryulong," said Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson Juliet Barbara.
Google Gives WebView the Cold Shoulder
January 30, 2015
Google has decided not to fix vulnerabilities in WebView for Android 4.3 and older, sparking heated discussions among developers. Those versions of WebView run on the WebKit browser. Fixing them "required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do so safely," explained Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security.
Canada Levitates Data from File-Sharing Sites
January 29, 2015
Canada's spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been eavesdropping on 102 free file upload sites, including Sendspace, Rapidshare and Megaupload, which has been shut down. A CSE program called "Levitation" lets analysts access information on 10-15 million uploads and downloads of files from such sites daily, according to documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Oculus VR's Story Studio to Create Cinematic Virtual Reality Experiences
January 27, 2015
Oculus VR on Monday unveiled a new project at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Oculus Story Studio will produce movies in virtual reality. It presented its first example of the genre on Monday evening -- a 4-minute experience called Lost. Oculus, which was founded in 2012, was acquired last year by Facebook for a reported $2.2 billion.
Wikileaks Steamed Over Google's Lengthy Silence on FBI Snooping
January 27, 2015
Google may have contributed to violating the First Amendment rights of three journalists working for WikiLeaks two and a half years ago, when it turned over to the FBI all their email, subscriber information and metadata. Google informed the journalists about its actions last month, saying that it had been unable to do so earlier due to a gag order.
Coinbase Bitcoin Exchange Off to a Rocky Start
January 26, 2015
Coinbase on Monday launched Coinbase Exchange, the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the U.S. It got the jump on the upcoming Gemini exchange currently being established by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss. The firm debuted in 24 U.S. states, but the launch was bedeviled with problems. Some pages reportedly failed to load completely, and some users had problems with access.
Debian Forked: All for Devuan and Devuan for All?
January 26, 2015
A group of developers made good on their threats to fork Debian Linux late last year, after the community's leadership voted to replace sysvinit with systemd, making systemd the default init boot process. The Debian Technical Committee's decision spurred several key Debian developers and project maintainers to resign. Some of them formed a new community dedicated to forking Debian.
Winkelvoss Twins Plan to Tame Bitcoins
January 26, 2015
Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss on Friday announced Gemini, a regulated bitcoin exchange to be based in the United States. The Winkelvoss twins, who shot to fame when they sued Facebook and won $65 million, have assembled a team of security experts, technologists and financial engineers to build a world-class exchange from the ground up, based on security.
The Brave New World of Windows 10
January 23, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of new features and capabilities coming in Windows 10: the convergence of the desktop and mobile; the advent of the killer universal app; more power and features for personal digital assistant Cortana, which will be on mobile as well as desktops and laptops; improvements to maps; a new browser; a strong emphasis on gaming; and holographic computing.
Quinn's Crash Override Combats Cyberbullying
January 22, 2015
Crash Override made its official debut last week, promising a new way to support targets of online bullying and harassment. Cofounder Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, is one of the better-known people on the receiving end of such abuse. For her, it started when an ex-boyfriend alleged in a blog post that Quinn had traded sex for favorable reviews from a journalist for a video game news site.

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